By John Conley
NEW RICHMOND - Mingo Central’s punishing ground game delivered a key opening season victory.
Three Miners rushed for over 100 yards-led by Stevie Hammond’s 160 yards on 12 carries to lead No. 8 Mingo Central to a 37-28 win over No. 9 Wyoming East at New Richmond on Friday night.
“Conditioning was the difference,” said Warriors running back Nik Walker. “They just outplayed us.”
East grabbed a 15-6 advantage in the first quarter on Walker’s 83-yard kickoff return and two-yard TD carry.
The Miners took control of the line of scrimmage in the second period and maintained it for the rest of the night.
They finished the first half with an eight-play, 62 yard scoring drive. Chase Justice scored from 20 yards out with 1:35 left in the half. Chance Lester ran for the two-point conversion to cut the margin to 15-14.
Wyoming East ‘s Casey Saunders returned the second half kickoff 91 yards for a score and extended the lead to 21-14.
The Miners responded immediately, taking the ball 80 yards on six plays and reaching the end zone on Joe Hunt’s six-yard run.
Justice’s run for the two-point conversion put Mingo Central ahead for good with 8:31 showing.
A long punt return set up the next Miner score, which came on the first play of the fourth quarter.
Justice had a four-yard scoring run and then rushed for the two points to make it 30-21.
East briefly cut the margin to two when senior quarterback Aaron Griffith broke to the outside and broke several tackles on his way to a 75-yard TD run. It was 30-28.
Central answered with an eight-play, 77-yard march. The Miners were near midfield when Turner broke out of a cluster of players and went 51 yards to pay dirt. Joseph Harrison booted the PAT.
Mingo Central punted just once in the second half and scored on four of five possessions during one stretch of the game.
In addition to Hammond, the Miners got 144 yards on 27 carries from Justice and 109 yards on 13 attempts by Hunt.
Griffith had 81 yards rushing and 35 passing for East.
Score by quarters:
Mingo Central …. 6 8 8 15 - 37
Wy. East …. 15 0 6 7-28